One year ago at this moment, I was trying to sleep. Slight contractions plagued me the entire day. They weren't debilitating, and I had roamed the streets of my neighborhood as they hit, timing and tracking and trying to find regularity. Once I realized there was no set rhyme or reason, my deathly fear of arriving at the hospital and being sent home led me to diminish the pain's significance. I took a shower to soothe the cramping. I thought I'd rest up for what would undoubtedly be a busy tomorrow. So at that moment, 365 days before this one right now, I was cuddled in bed listening to In Rainbows and waiting for glorious unconsciousness.
It wasn't long before a shattering 10+ minute contraction forced the headphones from my ears, rocked me down the stairs, out the door, and into a knuckle-gripping wait for a blessed epidural.
This is not meant to be a birth story. So I'll just say that about seven hours later, with unrealistic ease, my world exploded. When the pieces were put back together, I was shocked at how much the planet had expanded. Infinite vastness sat on my chest. Infinite vastness grew in my heart. I thought I had charted the edges of my universe, yet there it was, pushing outwards into possibilities I'd never imagined could exist.
I could write (and have written) extensively on this first year of motherhood. I could be wry, hilarious, philosophical, righteous, awed, or irreverent by turns in my observations. But for now, I'll try to keep it short and sweet, as sweet as my Alexandria.
I love my daughter. I love what her birth has made of my family. I didn't know that Taylor and I could be so content, had no clue of the mysterious peace we could carry with us.* I loved the way we've grown. I love my pleasant, curious child.
My in-laws have a birthday tradition. They bestow birthday wishes, hopes for a person as they trek through the next year. I've made wishes for myself on my birthdays, so here's one for the girl.
Daughter, I wish the world for you.**
Tonight, as I thought about your entrance into existence and how radically my life has changed, I took a nighttime stroll. Right now, there is a full moon. I walked barefoot on cement that held the vestiges of the day's heat. The darkness of mountain silhouettes cut into the night sky, and I felt immensely powerful. I felt the embrace of night and moon and stars, and I wished that power for you. I want you to walk through the world and feel fearless, because it is there for you, and you are there for it. There is so much for you to see. There will be so much for you to do. Don't be scared. Yes, it can be daunting, and yes, you might be nervous, but always tap into the strength I know you already have.
This is going to be a great life, my darling. And I hope that I can show you that.
I love you. Happy birthday.
*peace tempered with a giant helping of "wow, the world has so many ways a human can die, how does anyone survive to adulthood," but peace nonetheless.
**so just a simple, tiny wish for this first birthday, no biggie.